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J Hosp Infect. 1999 Dec;43(4):281-91.

Antibiotic and biocide resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus.

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Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Welsh School of Pharmacy, Cardiff University.


Concern has been growing regarding the potential of antibiotic and disinfectant co-resistance in clinically important bacteria. In this study, the susceptibilities of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) to chlorhexidine (CHX), the quaternary ammonium compounds cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) and benzalkonium chloride (BC), triclosan, dibromopropamidine isethionate (DBPI) and triclocarban were compared. MRSA exhibited low-level resistance to CHX and the QACs, with MICs of 1.5 to 3-fold (CHX), and 2 to 4-fold (QACs) higher than MSSA. However, the MIC values for MRSA ranged between 0.025 (the MIC of MSSA) and 1 microg/mL with triclosan, and between <5 (the MIC of MSSA) and 75 microg/mL with DPBI. Nevertheless, these strains remain relatively sensitive to most of these antimicrobial agents. The bactericidal efficacy of CHX, CPC and DBPI (with the exception of one strain) correlated with their MIC value. This was not observed using triclosan; MRSA and MSSA strains were equally susceptible to its killing effect, regardless of MIC. The permeabilizing agent, ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) was unable to potentiate the antibacterial activities of the biocides against any of the strains tested. Attempts to select for staphylococcal strains with increased resistance to triclosan, CPC or CHX, using disc diffusion, step-wise broth, or repeated exposure/recovery technique, were only partially successful, and resistance was found to be unstable. The susceptibilities of vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) and vancomycin-sensitive enterococcus (VSE) to the biocides were also compared and found to be similar both in terms of MIC testing and time-kill studies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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